April 2019

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78 | A PR IL 2019 Mitchell Hall – Queen's University PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY Mitchell Hall – Queen's University by ROBIN BRUNET T he transformation of the former Physical and Health Education Centre (PEC) at Queen's University into the 17,655-square-metre Mitchell Hall is an accomplishment on several levels, most notably (from a visual viewpoint) the bold juxtaposition of its restored historic facade with curtain wall wings on either side that bring natural light deep into what was once a dark facility. Mitchell Hall's programming is equally remarkable: the interior was completely rebuilt to accom- modate new space for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, space for the Innovation and Wellness Centre, recreation and academic resources, and even a retail food outlet. "It's an impressive achievement that the University is extremely proud of, made possible by the expertise and hard work of a great team of architects and builders," says John Witjes, associate VP (facilities) for Queen's. CS&P Architects led the project as prime consultant after conducting a feasibility study in 2015. Once the project evolved past the study phase, CS&P managing and design principal Paul Cravit asked Montgomery Sisam Architects to join as associate architects, under the leadership of that firm's prin- cipals, Jason Dobbin and Robert Davies. Cravit says, "Our feasibility study determined that a renovated and expanded PEC, which was built in the 1930s and added onto in the 1970s, could accommodate a dense, multi-use program – including innovation and engineering spaces that allowed for government funding support for the project, which in turn obliged everyone to abide by the required accelerated delivery schedule." One major design strategy was the relocation and rebuilding of the exist- ing second floor gymnasium located at the front of the building, which com- pressed the ground floor entrance, and cut off most of the daylight to the building. The new replacement gym- nasium was relocated to an excavated floor below one of the two other exist- ing gymnasiums at the north end, and the massive vacated second floor space was opened up into a skylit atrium and pedestrian "street" through the building. "Plus, this atrium brought badly-needed natural light into the facility," says Witjes. The building was further opened to even more daylight with the cre- ation of a new courtyard, carved out of the existing 1970s addition, stra- tegically located at the intersection of the two main circulation routes through the building. Reuse of some of the original build- ing materials whenever possible was a goal of the design. For example, wood from the ceiling of the original swim- ming pool, as well as the wood floor boards of the old gym, were incorpo- rated into the atrium and entrance corridor to the new gym, as decorative, as well as functional elements. The relocation of major spaces such as the second-floor gym also mitigated some of the acoustic challenges that arose from accommodating such diverse programming elements. "For exam- ple, we located and connected the new gym and athletic spaces to the exist- ing complex at the north end of the site," says Dobbin. "So not only are the ath- letic components no longer segregated, they're a good distance away from the labs, clinics, and other programs that require a more peaceful environment." EllisDon Corporation commenced work by erecting a support system for PEC's historic facade and shoring up the roof – both of which required considerable restoration, including stone repair and repointing (this work augmented the removal of harmful interior elements such as asbestos). "About half of the existing structure was completely rebuilt and the other half retrofitted," says senior project manager David Haley. Witjes says, "Unexpected benefits occurred during the renovation pro- cess. For example, behind the main limestone faced south facade was an original brick layer, which we left exposed for people in the atrium to appreciate. This, in conjunction with exposed original 1930s structural roof supports in the main atrium, creates an impressive and impactful first impres- sion of the facility when one enters the main south doors." The two old PEC gyms had to be retained while the new gym was con- structed below one of them, and this required EllisDon to install large structural beams to withstand the loads. "Each of the beams, which were 1.4-metres deep by 22-metres long, were brought into the facility in two pieces and assembled underneath the old gyms," says Haley. While Haley is proud of these large- scale accomplishments, he notes that attention to detail was equally impor- tant for EllisDon. "We also delivered and installed all the furniture and equipment for Mitchell Hall by lever- aging the capabilities of our FFE division," he says. Now that Mitchell Hall is fully occu- pied, Cravit takes time to assess the finished product. "We're extremely happy with the outcome," he says. "Queen's University deserves full credit for taking a huge and ambitious pro- gramming challenges and ensuring that it paid off." A LOCATION 69 Union Street, Kingston, Ontario OWNER/DEVELOPER Queen's University ARCHITECTS CS&P Architects Inc. / Montgomery Sisam Architects Inc. GENERAL CONTRACTOR EllisDon Corporation STRUCTURAL CONSULTANT LEA Consulting Ltd. MECHANICAL/ ELECTRICAL CONSULTANT Smith + Andersen TOTAL SIZE 17,655 square metres TOTAL COST $85 million Toban Electric.indd Lea.indd FM36802.indd

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